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Geer victim of no support in loss to Rox

Geer victim of no support in loss

DENVER -- The four-hour charter flight from Denver to Washington D.C. promised to be an uncomfortable ride for Josh Geer, but not because of anything he did wrong during the Padres' 1-0 loss to the Rockies on Wednesday.

Geer, the rookie pitcher who started against Colorado at Coors Field, stuffed himself into a Hooters waitress outfit that consisted of smallish orange shorts with a white top as part of the Padres' annual rookie initiation stunt.

The point, of course, is to levy a large degree of embarrassment -- in good fun, of course -- to the rookies on the team, which Geer couldn't avoid. But on the field, though, the 25-year-old right-hander has been anything but an embarrassment.

If anything, Geer's performance Wednesday and in his other three Major League starts this month might have the team thinking he has a chance to crack the starting rotation next season.

"I think his stuff is underrated," Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley said. "He knows his strengths and executes his pitches. He doesn't miss too much over the middle. ... He rarely misses to the wrong spot."

Using an effective changeup and two-seam fastball, Geer (2-1) allowed one run in five innings with five strikeouts on five hits -- one a fourth-inning home run to Joe Koshansky, which ultimately made the difference.

"This is an atypical game in this park," Padres manager Bud Black said of the seventh 1-0 game in Coors Field history, the third this season.

Geer lowered his ERA to 2.86 with one more start remaining before he shuts it down until Spring Training. If nothing else, he'll arrive in Arizona in February knowing he can get Major League hitters out.

"He pitched well; he was on the corner or just off it. ... He made some pitches when he needed to," Black said. "He is a guy like [fellow rookie pitcher] Wade [LeBlanc] who knows his game. He doesn't try to do anything more than what he's able to do."

Geer and LeBlanc -- who picked up his first Major League victory on Monday -- have given the Padres hope that they can fill out the back end of their starting rotation for 2009, sliding in somewhere behind incumbents Jake Peavy and Chris Young.

"I feel like I have kept us in the ballgame each outing," Geer said of his four starts. "Hopefully, I can finish strong and be in contention for the rotation next year."

Geer's outing and even his first Major League hit weren't enough to prevent the Padres (58-95) from losing for the second time in as many days to the Rockies (70-83), as they were shut out for the 13th time this season.

The Padres also have the dubious distinction of leading the Major Leagues in the most 1-0 losses this season with five.

The Padres were tied in knots Wednesday by a pitcher they nearly chased out of Coors Field a month ago.

Veteran Livan Hernandez's start Wednesday was a far cry from his first outing with the Rockies on Aug. 10 after the Minnesota Twins designated him for assignment. On that day, Hernandez allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings of a 16-7 loss to the Padres. He was much more efficient and successful on Wednesday, though.

"I think that he made better pitches overall," Black said. "He was working the corners, and he left fewer balls out over the plate."

The Padres got a leadoff single from Brian Giles in the fourth inning, although he was doubled off first when Adrian Gonzalez hit a screamer right at Koshansky at first base.

With one out in the seventh inning, rookie shortstop Sean Kazmar reached on a bunt single and moved to second base on a throwing error. Pinch-hitter Drew Macias walked. But Will Venable and Edgar Gonzalez grounded out to end the Padres' biggest threat of the day.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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